Anthropology, Department of


Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Anthropology, Under the Supervision of Professor Mary S. Willis. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Kristine M. Sudbeck


Perceptions of high school faculty and staff members about the graduation outcomes of English language learners of Mexican ancestry were explored. Throughout the course of one semester, observations were made and field notes taken in classrooms and other school locations. Interviews were conducted with 25 faculty/ staff members and 7 students, all of whom were former or current English language learners of Mexican ancestry. The author used a mixed methods strategy; interviews were coded for themes to assess qualitative data, and SPSS was used to analyze quantitative data. Faculty/staff perceived the top three indicators of whether or not an ELL student graduates as family, employment and poverty. Perceptions and attitudes within the school created an ambivalent environment, as did the institutional constructs of the school. Finally, four key recommendations were proposed to promote ELL student graduation rates: 1) build relationships with students and their families, 2) make modifications for ELL students, 3) establish guidelines for intake/outtake processes, and 4) increase intercultural competence of the faculty, staff and students within the school.

Advisor: Mary S. Willis

Included in

Anthropology Commons